Yoghurt Q & A

22 October 2009
There have been quite a few questions over the past two dairy days so I'll use this post to answer them. I hope you try making these dairy products. They are very tasty, they're cheaper than the store bought products and you'll help keep old skills alive, particularly if you pass on what you know.

Sueellen wrote: Will have a go at the yoghurt but am curious to know if you have posted a recipie for sour cream. My thoughts are that you would need only to sour some fresh cream with lemon juice or vinegar but I might be completely wrong.

Sueallen, sour cream is easy to make at home but I don't think I've posted about it before. If you make this on a day when you've used the oven, you can use the residual heat in the oven to make the sour cream. Get yourself a 750ml mason jar, or glass container with a lid, add ½ cup of room temperature cultured buttermilk and two cups of room temperature cream and stir thoroughly. Wrap the jar in a towel and place it in the warm oven, leave it for 24 hours. Then you have your sour cream.

Attila, you can reserve some of this yoghurt to make your next batch. Every so often, you'll need to buy a new batch of yoghurt as a fresh starter.

Allison wrote: Reading this now I did not cover my jars with a lid so maybe that was my issue. I did cover it with a coffee filter to keep things out of the jar.

Allison: you must put the lid on to hold in the heat. Yoghurt needs a constant low warm temperature for the bacteria to multiply. Try it again with the lid on. Don't overheat the milk once the yoghurt is in it as that will kill the culture, but it does need constant warmth.

Reyna wrote: I would like to freeze some yoghurt to use in place of icecream for smoothies. Is there a special way of doing that, or do you just freeze, stir, freeze, stir etc like you do icecream??

Reyna, that way would certainly work well, or you could use an icecream maker, but I would do it another way. As the frozen yoghurt will be going into smoothies, I'd just freeze shallow covered trays of yoghurt. You will get a few ice crystals but it will be blended in with other ingredients, so that won't matter. It will be much less work this way.

Kristin, adding a lot of starter yoghurt - a full cup, and the extra powdered milk, is the key to making thick yoghurt.

white lilly wrote: I was wondering what the difference would be if the store bought yoghurt has gelatine added. Because the yoghurt I made with using store bought yoghurt was a bit what you call slimmy. Could this be caused by gelatine or something else.

white lilly: gelatine in the starter yoghurt will inhibit the whey separating from the curds and if you're going to make cheese from the yoghurt, that is a problem. If you use starter yoghurt containing gelatine it will take the yoghurt longer to firm up, and if you use the yoghurt before it's finished maybe that felt "slimey". You'd be much better off using a starter yoghurt that is "natural" with its beneficial bacteria added, but with as few extra additives as possible.

Anna wrote: My latest batch of yoghurt didn't work right, so I had to throw it away - smelt and tasted like squashed ants - blechh. I'm interested to see that people add milk powder to their mix, I'll have to try that. I don't think I'm keeping the mix warm enough either, will have to try the esky technique!

Anna: when you make the yoghurt keep it at a consistent warm temperature. You also need to use sterilised jars as the introduction of any other bacteria will inhibit the growth of the beneficial bacteria.

mecathie: yes, you can use any type of milk.

meagan wrote: A week went by and I still had the whey in the fridge but I was afraid it had gone off so I threw it out. How long does whey last before you should use it?

Meagan: If kept in the fridge in a pre-sterilsed bottle or jar, whey should last about 3-4 weeks. If it starts going off you'll notice mould forming on the top.

Lors, a Greek starter yoghurt always makes a delicious thick yoghurt. I'm pleased you tried it.

Barbara: people from many countries have their own version of fresh yoghurt or buttermilk cheese. Germans calls theirs quark, but there are many versions and names.

Shan wrote: In the end of your post it says something like 'It won't last longer than that in the freezer". I'm assuming that you meant 'will'? I'm not sure though b/c I haven't put any dairy products in the freezer except ice cream ;) So I wanted to check to see? Also what is UHT?

I meant "won't last longer than that". Ricotta needs to be eaten fresh. It will last a couple of days in the fridge and maybe a week or 10 days in the freezer. After that it will be tasteless and, if over frozen, like rubber. You can easily freeze milk and cream and then defrost them in the fridge when you're ready to use them. UHT stands for ultra high temperature. This milk is sterilised by being super heated. That is why it can sit on a shelf for many months without going off.


  1. I think what you are calling sour cream is actually nearly identically tasting creme fraiche which is actually nicer to cook with because it doesn't separate as sour cream does if cooked at too high a temperature. You can add sour cream to cream and get more sour cream. They are two different cultures, different bacteria I think....

    I will have to try the quark and see if it is like the quark I used to buy in Germany. Here in the US they have begun to sell something they call "quark" but it isn't what I knew "long ago and far away".

  2. Another yoghurt question.....is it necessary to use glass jars? I have the lovely big plastic container my original yoghurt came in, and would like to re-use it.

    I can see one problem could be making sure it's absolutely clean and sterile, but apart from that?

    Thanks Rhonda


  3. that's fine, nanette, you don't have to use glass.

  4. Thanks, Rhonda. You're a treasure.

  5. I see in your daily routines you clean the floors every day...does that mean you sweep your entire house? vaccuum? with a broom? just wondering. Thanks. from Pam in Texas.

  6. Pam, I sweep the kitchen floor daily, the rest of the house is vacuumed about once a week.

  7. Thanks Rhonda!! Now I'm kicking myself for throwing it out. Can't wait to use it next time. Maybe for scones. Lots of love and thank you again for all your help and guidance and above all else inspiration. xo Meagan.

  8. Thanks Rhonda! You're great! Grocery shopping is done this evening & I have to get some good yogurt - I'm sure there's something close to what you bought in the organic section.
    PS I refered my Mother in Law to your blog...I'm she she'll love it as much as I do!
    Have a great day. :o)

  9. Hi

    I buy a pot of yoghurt that I know works as a starter, and freeze the spare in ice cube trays. Saves just a little more outlay!!


  10. Thanks for sharing all this information and allowing others to as well. I have never done something like this...but realizing the day may come I need to do so...I have kept the information in a file (should the day come that we can no longer afford the internet, etc). Also, share your infor with a friend clear across the USA from me, who had to give up internet a couple years ago. She enjoys many things you share as well!!

    Blessings on you for all you share to help us have a better life!!

  11. Hi Rhonda
    Great site, and I'm afraid I have yet another question on home made yogurt. After having read your post on yogurt making I decided to take the leap and try some of my own.... I'm not really sure if I was at all successful! I used UHT milk, greek yogurt as starter, powdered milk for thickening and an Easiyo tub system for incubation. I followed the steps at 6pm last night and this morning around 8am I opened the thermos but found half my 1Lt container with yogurt on top (not as thick as I would like) and whey on the bottom. Is it normal to have this much whey? Have I missed something when making my batch? If I continue at this rate it hardly seems worth the effort!
    Many thanks

  12. I have been wanting to make yoghurt for a couple of months now and will definitely be giving it a try this week now after your fantastic advice and recipe...
    I also can't wait to give the cheese a try too...
    Thanks for the inspiration Rhonda..

    Take Care
    Jodie :)

  13. Hi all,
    After the 'squashed ant' contamination issue, I have made hygiene part of the routine! My latest batch of yoghurt turned out great, I used a couple of extra tablespoons of milk powder, made sure I scalded the milk well, and used a small esky with a hot water bottle. The yoghurt came out much thicker than usual, and I'm now draining it to make a yoghurt cheese.

  14. I just found your blog and added you to my favorites.

    I recently started making my own yogurt with the EasiYo Yogurt maker.



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